You can look at data in many ways.
Below is a mind map embracing some of the ways you can make a picture of data within your business.
Data is often seen as the raw material that will be processed into information, which can be used to gather knowledge and thereby over time emerge as business wisdom.
When working with processing data we may distinguish between structured data that is already pre-processed into a workable format and unstructured data that is not easily ingested as information yet.
The main forms of structured data are:
- Reference data that often is defined and maintained in a wider scope than in your organization but where you still may consider be more knowledgeable inside your organisation as touched in the post The World of Reference Data.
- Master data that describes the who, where and what in your business transactions. You can drill further down into this in the post A Master Data Mind Map.
- Transactions that holds the details of the ongoing production events, about when we make purchases and sales and the financials related to all activities in the business.
Unstructured data will in the end hold much more information than our structured data. This includes communication data, digital assets and big data. Some structured data sources are though also big as examined in the post Five Flavors of Big Data.
We may also store the data in different places. For historical reasons within computer technology we have stored our data on premise, but organizations are, in different pace, increasingly depolying new data stores in the cloud.
In organisations with activities in multiple geographies and/or other organizational splits an ongoing consideration is whether a chunk of data is to be handled locally for each unit or to be handled globally (within the organization).
I am sure there are a lot of other ways in which you can look at data. What is on your mind?